Retired RTÉ commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh has praised volunteers in organisations across the emergency and voluntary spectrum for their tireless work and commitment throughout the years.
From the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI, Cliff and Mountain Rescue to the Civil Defence, Order of Malta, Irish Red Cross, St John Ambulance and Community First Responders, thousands of people volunteer their time and expertise in voluntary services to support the frontline emergency and medical services daily.
Speaking recently to EmergencyTimes.com, 88-year-old Mr Ó Muircheartaigh underlined the value of volunteering and how much communities appreciate the work they do.
“I’m around long enough now to understand what volunteering means to the country, what it means to big communities, small communities,” he said.
“I know a lot about these services, and whenever a huge emergency or any type of emergency emerges, they come.
“And its commented on regularly how quick they get there and the great work they do.
“People appreciate that work. They are delighted to have them near them, in the vicinity of their community and how they are always willing and very well able to perform their duties.
“They’re a very valuable asset to any community, to any country.”
Mr Ó Muircheartaigh recounted the many Sunday mornings he had arrived at Croke Park and, from 8.30 or 9am, watching volunteers arrive for a big game.
“To be in there in the early mornings, seeing the hundreds of volunteers come through the gates, receiving their instructions and posts from either a senior garda or the chief steward, and every one of them would have their chores to do as the day goes on,” he said.
“And as I sit in my own little corner and watch, I am amazed that without all these people who are volunteers, it simply wouldn’t function without them.
“Seeing the need for change from time to time and other aspects, that’s what gives the real test to associations, and I must say, these organisations are quick to see the need for being better, for being bigger, for learning more about how to deal with situations, and how to assist the frontline services in any way they can, and they do that regularly and that’s the way they operate and long may it continue.”